I look at Ehraval, and the darkness that covers his eyes.
What secrets hide within?
I find the black energy well that always circles around me.
I dip energy hands in the well, and bathe my eyes, over and over.
I turn toward Ehraval.
Thick darkness pours out of my eyes, and covers him, as the darkness from his eyes covers me.
Slowly, the darkness from our eyes grows brighter, until light pours out and circles around us, forming a bright sphere of spinning light.
I take Ehraval’s hands and look at his eyes, bright mirrors.
Within the reflection, I see myself, also with mirror eyes.
“What are you, Ehraval?” I ask him.
“A dead spirit?”
“Where are you from?”
“Does it matter?” he asks me.
“It matters to me.”
He hesitates for a moment.
“I was once Jiku, a long time ago, but I could not find peace.”
“Wherever I went, I brought fear with me.”
“I searched for peace, and went through many changes, but I could never escape myself, even in death.”
“My spirit went to the next world.”
“Even there, I was restless, and didn’t belong.”
“They strengthened my fire body, and made me a messenger.”
“What’s your mission?”
“They didn’t tell me.”
“My first task is to discover my mission.”
“There are an infinite number of universes.”
“I always felt that the answer would be on Siksa, in the universe that I came from, but this one universe was closed to me.”
“So I wandered.”
“Messengers are not like other dead spirits.”
“We can come among you, and take physical form when needed.”
“Even time is different for us.”
“While a few hundred years passed on Siksa, I’ve spent ages moving through universe after universe, and world after world.”
“Trying to find my way to Siksa, always in search of a clue.”
“Then I met you on Earth.”
“I knew that you were the one that I needed to help, and that you would help me return here, someday.”
“You were so young and clueless, Yagrin.”
“I wondered how you could ever help me.”
“Then you found your way here, and called me to you!”
“Do you know what you need to do here, Ehraval?”
“I taught you to face the black lightning.”
“I thought that would be enough, but I still feel that my mission is unfinished.”
“There’s something else that I have to do for you, only I don’t know what it is.”
“What about you?” I ask him.
“Is there something you need to do here for yourself?”
“Yes!” he says, loudly.
“I’m here to let go of this world, but I don’t know how.”
“Being here just reminds me of my old life.”
“I suspect that it’s you who will free me from this world,” he says quietly.
“What else can you teach me, Ehraval, that will help me save this world, our world.”
“It’s not my world anymore, Yagrin!”
“I can’t interfere in the wars that will come.”
“Then show me how to find my way.”
He looks at me for a long time, and then his face lights up.
“There’s a place, a crossroads,” he says at last, “only for messengers.”
“They use the crossroads to find their next mission.”
“You’re not a messenger, but you’re not so different from us.”
“If the crossroads allow you to enter, you’ll learn to see pathways, where the living see only darkness.”
“Hopefully your Gen fire body can survive the storm of energy.”
Walking our own Paths
“When will we return?” I ask.
“Time is different there,” he answers.
“No time will pass here while we’re gone, but the trip is dangerous.”
“Even if the crossroads lets you enter, it may not let you leave!”
“Let’s go,” I tell him.
I dissolve my physical and pattern bodies, leaving only my fire body.
I see the black well hovering near me.
“Go, Yagrin,” he says.
“The black well is the crossroads?”
“The well is the entrance to the crossroads.”
“You’re fortunate, Yagrin.”
“The well rarely shows itself to anyone but the messengers.”
“Immerse your fire body in the well, and I’ll follow you.”
I move toward the well, but he blocks my path.
“Are you ready to risk everything in this journey?”
“The path to Siksa will seal itself behind us.”
“If you can’t enter the crossroads, you’ll be trapped in the well.”
“If I’m trapped,” I ask him, “will you be able to get back to Siksa?”
“I’ll be able to enter the crossroads,” he answers, “but Siksa will be closed to me.”
“Stay here,” I tell him.
“You’re the only one who can free me.”
“Without you, there’s no reason for me to be on Siksa.”
I send my listener into the well to see what lies ahead, but the listener sees nothing but endless emptiness.
I focus on each of my seven energy wells, and fill them with a question.
Is this the only way?”
I see an image of Siksa exploding.
Then I see myself passing into the well, and Siksa whole and strong.
This is where I must go.
“Follow me,” I tell Ehraval, and enter the well.
There’s nothing here, and no energy visible, except my fire body.
A moment later, I see Ehraval’s fire body, and feel a connection between us, through which we pass our thoughts and feelings.
“Where’s the crossroads?” I ask him.
“We’re in it!” he tells me.
“It opened for you, the moment you entered the well.”
“Find a path, Yagrin,” he says.
“There’s always a path.”
I feel the seven energy wells within me, and see their energies.
From each one, I send out a large, spinning sphere of colored energy.
The spheres arrange themselves in a vertical circle.
The spheres move in unison around the circle, as though they were orbiting the center
Each ball of energy flies a few hundred feet away, in different directions.
Then I bring all of them together, straight toward me, until they collide within me.
Multi-colored sparks burst out of the circle and spread in all directions, and each of the sparks expands into a burning opening.
There are thousands of sparks, and each opening leads to another world.
The spheres suddenly rush toward the center.
When they collide, most of the energy rushes into me at the navel.
The rest of the energy turns into more sparks.
They spread out and strike the openings, which light up.
“What is this, Ehraval?” I ask.
“There are always paths, Yagrin, but you can’t always see them.”
“The paths are shaped by who you are, and what you are willing to give to the paths.”
“Each opening is a different path, tied in some way to who you are.”
He sends out a burst of energy, and all the openings disappear.
Then, the darkness is gone, and there is light and energy everywhere.
My fire body and its senses are blinded by the thick energy.
“What now, Ehraval?” I ask.
Then, I know, before he answers.
Find a path.
I imagine energy hands soaking in each of my energy wells.
Then I send out a thousand sparks.
These sparks expand into dark openings, that lead to the same paths that looked bright within the darkness.
“Sometimes we seem blinded by darkness, Yagrin, and sometimes by light.”
“None of it is true.”
“There are always paths.”
“Change the world from light to dark,” he orders me.
I’m about to ask how, but then something moves within me.
An energy shines into this world, and the light disappears.
The pathways that were dark, are now light.
“Shift the world back and forth, a hundred times,” he says.
“Spin the world between opposites.”
“The movement will free you from the darkness, and the light.”
“Send yourself into that free space.”
“Use emotional energy to reach into the space and connect.”
The first ten or twenty repetitions are empty.
But then something appears within the darkness and within the light, hidden by both.
The world around me is alive, and waiting.
Every point of darkness or light is an opening to another possibility.
I let go of the openings that I’ve made, and shift the world, from light to dark and back again, faster and faster.
Then I surround myself with the energy to connect, and my intention.
Let me find the path and possibility where I must be, where I can be a gift.
Only one opening remains within the world before me.
This opening remains, even as I keep shifting the world from darkness to light.
I move through the opening.
Ehraval and I are standing again in the Watchtower.
“You brought us back, Ehraval?”
“No, Yagrin,” he answers.
“You found the path yourself.”
“This world is exactly where you need to be, at least for now.”
He smiles at me.
“Tomorrow, when you’re ready to leave, I’ll find you.”
He turns to leave, then stops.
“When will you test for the master’s band in the Artist’s guild?”
“After I return from the Bizra.”
“Then, I’ll be a master in all four guilds, and we can begin preparing for war.”
“There is more to the guilds than you know, Yagrin,” he tells me.
“There’s a secret fifth guild.”
“It has no leader, and no seats on the council.
“No tests, no rewards, no honor, and no master’s band.”
“In three of the four guilds, a master wears a white robe with the band color of his guild.”
“The flow masters wear a black robe, but it carries the band of their guild color.”
“Those who enter the fifth guild give up their other master’s bands, and wear a plain black robe.”
“The only color on the robe comes from two gold bands, one by each wrist.”
“Gold reminds them of the light and possibility that is always with us, forever.”
“Are there still members of this guild?” I ask him.
“I doubt it,” he answers, “but someday, you’ll rebuild the guild.”
“You’ll know when it’s time.”
“The fifth guild is called Sindar, the guild of the PathFinders.”
Shazira will return before dawn, so she and I can transfer the Watchtower to Berek’s parents, the temporary guardians.
I enter the prayer room, and spread my listener on the web.
I fill the peace that follows, with my intentions for tomorrow and the days beyond.
I hope that this is my last night alone, that our trip to the Bizra will heal Tzina.
I hope that the path to heal this world, will show itself to me.
I wish with all my heart that I will have the courage to follow that path.
I let go of the listener, and return to the DreamRoom, and activate the security locks on the Watchtower, for the night.
The Watchtower is dark, but I’m not afraid of it.
The bed welcomes me, and I quickly fall asleep.
Soon, I see myself, awake within a dream.
Then I see the path suspended in space that leads to a Dream School.
How did I get here?
I enter the door to the Dream School, and find the same woman sitting behind the desk.
She looks through me.
She recognizes me, so she doesn’t ask my name.
As she looks at me, she seems surprised to see me.
No, disturbed, is a better way to describe it.
“Who activated your Dream Net?” she asks, with a frown.
“No one,” I tell her.
“I didn’t plan to come here tonight, and the tower is empty and sealed.”
“Very troubling,” she says.
“Which school is this?”
“Song,” she answers.
“Are you a living being, or part of the simulation?” I ask.
“I’m not alive as you think of it.”
“I’m part of the master intelligence that runs the schools.”
“An artificial intelligence?”
“Yes,” she answers.
“It still lives within the closed city.”
“Why are you troubled?” I ask.
“When I look at you,” she says, “I have access to information about you.”
“I see your name, your skills, and the way that the Dream Net was set to send you here.”
“I use this to verify what people tell me.”
“Your Dream Net setting includes a unique code.”
“The code references a message cube that appeared yesterday, inside the school.”
She pulls the cube from behind her desk and hands it to me.
“Who recorded the message?”
“It came from outside the school, from the the master intelligence.”
“How do I contact the intelligence?”
She shakes her head.
“Active communication with the master intelligence is forbidden inside the schools.”
I sigh, and connect my energy to the cube to receive its message.
A beautiful woman appears.
“I activated your Dream Net,” she says.
“Time is short, and an ancient enemy approaches.”
“You must find a way to enter the closed city.”
“I’m forbidden to open the walls for you, but I can help once you’re inside.”
The message ends, and I disconnect from the cube.
“Can you tell me anything else about the message?” I ask the woman behind the desk.
“Only this,” she says.
“No one has received a message in the schools, since the city was sealed.”
I get a locker, and prepare for classes.
I’m in a class called Song and Story.
“The essence of story is meaning,” says the teacher.
“Meaning gives story lifeand power.”
“Care about your characters and their lives, and your stories will shine with meaning!”
“Here’s the secret to story,” he whispers.
“You can’t care about the lives in your stories, unless you are full of feeling.”
“You need to see meaning in every word, every smile, and every step of your own lives.”
“A song can carry any feeling,” says the teacher.
“Some songs have words, and some do not.”
“Some songs hold a feeling for a moment in time.”
“Other songs have feelings that move and change.”
“No song can live without a story.”
“Even if it’s a song of one moment, it needs life.”
“Some of us believe that the purest songs come from the rhythm of greatness and wonder.”
“Songs of power are born, from joy and gratitude and praise.”
“These come from deep inside.”
“A fountain of feeling rises within us, and shines far beyond us.”
During my year in the school, we practice the art of singing, and the art of making songs.
On my last night at the school, I attend a class called Energy and Song.
This class is only for energy masters.
Tonight, I’m the only student here.
The master shows me how to hold certain tones and energy patterns in each of the seven energy wells.
Then she shows me how to bind the wells together with other tones, and streams of energy.
Music rides on rivers of energy that rise and run throughout my energy body.
“Wait for the movement to get faster and faster, until you can no longer contain it.”
“Then, release it as sound and song.”
As the movement builds, I feel something missing.
I reach out for the eighth energy well, and I find the missing tones.
The music within me changes.
I feel it spread beyond me in great waves of energy.
The music fills the school, and reaches beyond to the waking world.
Then I open my mouth, and release the song.
I awake in the Dreaming Room, singing, and hear more words of the master, as I come awake:
“Each person has songs that only he or she can find, and sing.”
“These are the greatest songs of all, the dark songs, the hidden songs.”
“They will transform you, and the world around you.”
“Tonight you have found a dark song.”
“When the time comes, it will carry you to safety.”
I shut off the Dream Net.
It’s almost dawn.
Time to dress, and greet the new guardians of the Watchtower.